Hi, I’m Chez, welcome to my place (chez moi): a space for sharing my writing and  photographs about eating, cooking, travelling and creating home. This blog works for me as a creative outlet and a repository of recipes and memories. This is how it began:

In late 2010 Colin and I decided to throw caution to the wind. We resigned from our jobs in Auckland, New Zealand, sold most of our belongings, and embarked on a trip through South East Asia. We saw the Temples of Angkor, encountered cockroaches and monkeys in Halong Bay, ate amazing food throughout Vietnam, fell in love with Luang Prabang, and even went to Myanmar for a cup of tea. In July 2011 we left Bali and landed in Brisbane, Australia, for the second phase of our adventure – starting over with no jobs, no car, and nowhere to live. Change is certainly enlivening, as indicated in this overview of our 2011.

This blog started as a way for friends and family to follow our Asia travels, but chez moi actually means “my place”, in the sense of belonging to, or simply, home (and yes, my name really is Chez, pronounced “Shay”). As any immigrant knows, one’s homeland assumes a particular poignancy once it is left. Australia isn’t exactly a world away from New Zealand, neither in distance nor in culture, but still, there was (and is) a sense of displacement and impermanence amidst the excitement of living somewhere new.

Because “home” became more complex, I continued this blog as a way to chart the process of carving out a new life. The transition was a little awkward at first, but I quickly found that writing about food fitted me well. Food is essential to me in a symbolic sense as well as in a physical, satisfy-my-stomach one. When I re-make favourite family recipes in my new home, I communicate my personal history and consolidate a sense of self. This post about my Nana’s scones sums up these ideas pretty well.

So what is this blog about? The main emphasis is on what I’m cooking and eating, or what I remember that I cooked and ate in some other time and place.  However, I’ve never been a single-minded type. Some of my posts feature photographs or photo essays. There are occasional posts that muse on the meanings of home: the homes that I miss as well as the ones I am trying to create. True to this blog’s roots, there are also posts featuring travel. Although travel doesn’t happen as often as I’d like these days, it’s partly in moving away from and returning to home, even on a daily basis, that builds a sense of place, chez moi. So that’s it really: eating, travelling and creating home: efforts in, stories about, and reflections on.

Please note: All photos and writing (my material) used in this blog are my own (unless otherwise stated and credited) and are protected by copyright as outlined below:
Creative Commons License
Chez Moi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
This means: You cannot use my material for commercial purposes; you may not distribute adaptations of my material; and if you do use my material, you must credit me and link back to this blog.

Chez Moi can also be found on Pinterest and on Instagram


  1. Hi Chez, It’s a pleasure to meet you in this forum – to read about your journey and see what’s cooking. I’m a fan. ☺

  2. Hello Chez…I am participating on a blog challenge A-Z( People Edition) I am trying to find blogs which are not top ten blogs ,full of adverts but different,quirky to do a write up on which is how I chanced upon yours..wandering through it was the G & T which sealed it for me my favorite Gin and your home made tonic. Would you mind if I featured your blogfor my ” C” it may bring more traffic to your blog…. 🙂 Who I am sure will like it as much as I do.. 🙂 Thank you.

    • Hi there! Thank you for your message. I’m glad you liked the homemade tonic recipe, Please feel free to feature my blog as part of the challenge. Good luck to you, especially for the more difficult letters such as X and Z!

      • I know..but funny enough I have those two in mind already it’s these early letters which are more difficult because there are many and many which I wonder why anyone would want to read them( ohhhh that was not nice) but I would struggle to be positive about some. Thank you and yes I will be having a go at that it sounds like it enhances the Gin. Have a lovely day 🙂

  3. Hi Chez, thanks for visiting my blog! I understand that displaced feeling you speak of so well. That has been my life for the last 10 years! I don’t think anywhere but NZ will ever truly feel like home. I look forward to hearing about your adventures, and your food choices (I love a good recipe!) ;D

  4. Hi Chez,
    What a beautiful adventure you’ve been living for the past years! Visiting your blog and going from one post to another is truly like being invited in your home and traveling from one room to the next. It’s great to read such well written texts, sharing a real reflection on the self. A beautiful collection of all the little things that make a home and a person.

    • Hi André and Adélaïde, thank you for taking the time to read some of my posts and leave such a lovely comment! I love your analogy of post-to-post as room-to-room; a beautiful idea that I wish I had thought of myself! I’m very glad that we have found each other in the blogosphere.

  5. Many thanks for visiting my site and particularly for becoming my newest follower! I’m pleased you enjoyed what you found here and hope you continues to do so. I thoroughly enjoyed a preliminary visit to your site and will be back for more very shortly.

  6. Hi Chez! Thanks for visiting stepsinthyme! I thought I’d check out your blog too and am so glad I did! I love your philosophy and food style! I may have drooled on my screen after seeing your roasted figs and labneh! I’m thinking of trying it myself, so if I post, will be sure to link you in!
    Thanks again, and I look forward to seeing more from you xx

  7. beautiful photos, chez – and what a great story. we’re in a similar position: have stopped work, thrown it all aside and hoping for the best. we’ll be sure to check back in on you. thanks for stopping by our blog!

  8. Hi Chez, your blog looks lovely, so thanks for stopping by on mine! Have a nice weekend! 🙂 Corina

  9. Hello Chez! You have very beautiful and interesting blog! I enjoy reading your blog! It is really interesting to me! The best regards! 😉

  10. Lacuisineparis

    Bonjour Chez! Seems like you had quite the adventure 🙂 We are a French Cooking and Baking School in Paris and we just started our very own blog. I’d like to invite you to check us out sometime 😉 Also, if you’re ever in town, please do come by!

    • Kia Ora (hello in Maori), thank you for your invitation (both of them). Your blog is lovely and I will be sure to look you up if I am ever in Paris (which of course I will be, one day!).

  11. Thank you so much for visiting my blog, because it allowed me to discover your wonderful blog! I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  12. It was life-changing, but would have been more so if at the time I had been more thoughtful about who I was and how I fit into this world. With age comes wisdom, hindsight and,the issue of regret. If it all ended tomorrow, I wouldn’t have any regrets other than it ended, but, hopefully it won’t for awhile. Thanks for you follow-up comment.

  13. I roamed for about six months before I ran out of money. I was by myself, so that made the passage of time very slow.

  14. Leaving everything is an admirable achievement. When I was 25 I gave away everything I owned and started over by wandering around the United States. But I did not cook. My diet was horrible and contributed my eventual return to the world of putting a round peg in a round hole. I look forward to your posts.

    • Hi Steffen, thanks for your comment – eating well on the road can indeed be challenging, especially in a developing country. In between towns we lived on fresh fruit, roasted peanuts and not much else! How long ago it all seems now though… How long did you travel around the US?

  15. laurie27wsmith

    Nice to meet you Chez, thanks for stopping by at my blog. You have a great place here.

    • Hi Mimi, no we don’t have children. But we met so many families travelling through Asia. One family were travelling for 12 months with 3 children under 12. They spent a couple of hours each day doing structured school work under the parents supervision, then were free to explore the rest of the day. What an education!

  16. The Gisborne Gourmet

    What a groovy blog! If you’re ever down (up? I never bloody know) Gisborne way, I’d love to show you around.

    • Why thank you! I might just take you up on that offer one day. I’ve never been to Gisborne (shocking!) although have gone almost all the way around the stunning East Cape. And…it’s down, at least for me 🙂

  17. Hi Chez, thank you for checking out and commenting on my little blog! I appreciate the feedback, and the opportunity to make a new connection in this big, wide world that is the Internet.

    I’m really loving your blog so far– your photos are beautiful and you write so honestly. I admire your unique perspective on food, travel, and home. Can’t wait to see more in the future!

    • Hi Chelsea, thanks for returning the love! All the best with your 365 project – if you carry on as you started then we are in store for a wealth of fantastic offerings from you! I admire the sense of humour and fun in your pictures. Best wishes, Chez

  18. Thank you for leading me to your lovely blog. I too would love to travel more than I am able to at the current time, but there is something quite special about life around the home that one is making. Looking forward to following your blog!

  19. Hi Chez, thanks for visiting my blog and introducing me to yours. Your photos are gorgeous and recipes simple and fresh. I’ll look forward to seeing more of your posts 🙂

  20. Hi Chez, your write-ups and photos are amazing. Can’t wait to try some recipes. I love apples and ginger, and that crumble will be first on my list! 🙂

    • Hi Anica thanks for this! I’ve really enjoyed looking around you blog and website. Your photos are beautiful! I especially liked seeing your recent photos of the far north of NZ – where I’m from. Hope you enjoy the crumble 🙂

  21. Hi Chez,
    Thanks for liking a post on geokult-travel.com. Your blog looks groovy so am following 🙂 Brisvegas is my hometown – hope you are enjoying it!

    • Hi Tracey, thanks for the comment and follow. Yes we are enjoying Brisbane – a bit hot sometimes though 🙂 I just had a better look around your site. You have a great variety of articles and advice!

  22. Hi Chez, gorgeous photos, enjoyed reading a couple of your posts. I’ll be going to Vietnam in a few months, so I’ll check out your posts about your travels there. Zeina

    • Hi Zeina, thanks for this kind comment. Your blog is great and I look forward to reading more of your lovely writing. Enjoy Vietnam! Cheers, Chez

      • Ahmed

        Many thanks Chez 🙂 I am so flattered. Wishing you all the best with your tres chic blog and photography

  23. Pingback: Vin d’ Orange + housekeeping | Chez Moi

    • Thanks! Asia feels like so long ago – it has been two years since we were there. But Australia has some pretty amazing destinations too so that’s keeping the wanderlust reasonably at bay 🙂

  24. therockmom

    Hi Chez, thanks for checking out therockmom.com. Just getting to know your blog – your photos are amazing! If you ever get up to HK, give us a shout!

  25. rosemcom

    Just wanted to stop by and thank you for liking my “Local Jewels” post in my “Delightful Local Repast” blog. Admire your sense of adventure and loved reading your blog. Best, Rose

    • Thanks Molly. I’ve just checked out your blog and really enjoyed it, especially the moody photographs you take. There is a a lovely stripped-back and intimate feeling about your blog. Thanks for enabling me to find it.

  26. thanks for visiting my blog, now it’s my turn to discover yours – it looks lovely! Can’t wait to read about your travels + recipes! x

    • You are very welcome Laurilau, it’s always fun to find a kindred spirit in the immensity of the blogosphere 🙂

  27. Lee

    I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award. Someone nominated me, and I’m supposed to share the love. It’s a game really, and a way to spread the word about great blogs. The details are here: http://aglasshalf-full.com/2013/02/01/whats-this-an-award/
    Play if you like…but I won’t be offended if you don’t. I figured it might be a good way to get some extra traffic on my blog so I did it!

  28. Hi there

    Firstly, thank you for liking my blog! Great to see a fellow NZ’er in there too. You write very well and I agree with the other comment that your pictures are top quality!

    Best regards

  29. Hello! If you’re thinking of taking in any of Taiwan, let me know! I can show you around a bit 🙂

    • chezmaree

      Thanks Kath, that’s lovely of you! Will definitely think of you if we head your way.

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